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Researchers: Microwave Underwear To Stop Recurring Yeast Infections

June 23, 1988

GAINESEVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Millions of women who suffer from recurring yeast infections may find relief if they microwave their underpants, researchers say.

Zapping freshly laundered but damp underwear for five minutes on high kills the fungus that causes vaginal infections in 20 million women yearly, said Byron J. Masterson, chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida.

The underwear must be cotton, he warned. ″Not your Frederick’s of Hollywood - no-no,″ Masterson said. ″The bunny suits would probably go ka- boom in your microwave.″

The study was published recently in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Yeast infections can cause irritation and discharge.

Previous studies have found that yeast, or candida albicans, survives laundering in detergent, even in hot water. That’s because candida is killed at 154 to 163 degrees, while household water heaters are set at about 120 degrees.

″Undergarments are contaminated and regular washing doesn’t seem to kill it,″ Raymond Kaufman, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said Thursday. He did not take part in the UF study.

″Most people carry candida, it’s a very common organism. Most women who develop vaginal infections (can be treated) very effectively with drugs 80 percent of the time,″ Kaufman said.

″But you’ve got a percentage who keep getting reinfected over and over. We see this commonly in diabetic women″ or those whose immune systems are below par.

Other studies have shown that boiling underpants kills off the yeast. ″But how many women do you know are going to boil their underwear?″ Masterson asked.